VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Lao Airlines has suspended flights between Vientiane and Oudomxay province after suffering a sharp downturn in the number of passengers.
The drop in customers has been attributed to the popularity of the Laos-China railway, which is a preferred form of travel due to lower costs.
The national flag carrier announced the cancellation of flights on this sector on its Facebook page on Monday.
“We have been carrying the cost of increasing fuel prices while each flight usually has only about 10 to 20 passengers,” the Director of Lao Airlines’ Commercial Department, Noudeng Chanthaphasouk, said.
“Before making the decision to cancel the Vientiane-Oudomxay sector, we offered three flights a week as well as special promotion fares in order to attract more passengers, but the increase in customers was minimal,” he added.
“We will close this route definitely until there are indications that we will see a significant increase in passenger numbers,” he added.
Noudeng also said that passenger numbers are falling on the Vientiane-Luang Prabang sector but the airline will continue to operate this route for the foreseeable future.
There is currently one flight a day from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, down from three or four flights a day before the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Lao Airlines’ Facebook page, from Vientiane there are currently eight flights a week to Luang Prabang, a daily flight to Luang Namtha, four flights a week to Xieng Khuang, 11 flights a week to Pakxe, and six flights a week to Savannakhet.
On international routes, the airline has daily flights from Vientiane to Bangkok, four flights a week to Hanoi, two flights a week from Pakxe to Ho Chi Minh city and three flights a week from Luang Prabang to Bangkok.